Friday, 25 May 2012

Stuffed Portobellas and the meaning of summer

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What does summer mean to you? For me, it's all about simplicity.  Simple style, it's too hot to mess around. Simple activities, the beach, the patio, the reading-in-the-grass, all simple. Simple food, BBQs, salads, watermelon, ice cream sandwiches.

Summer has officially hit Toronto, which means my body and brain are kicking into slow gear and just want to keep it simple.  To appease my body and brain (and tip my hat to the beginning of summer) I whipped up some simple food.

The steps involved are simple. The food involved is simple. The flavour is ... not quite simple, it's more delicious.

This is one of those great fridge clearing recipes. These happen to be stuffed with quinoa, bok choy, carrot, garlic, and onion. That's what I had on hand.  You could easily mix this up with the variety of veg you may have in your crisper that needs to be used up. More simplicity, no specific grocery store runs.

I started out by marinating the mushrooms, because really, food only gets better when it's marinated. While they sat, I prepped and cooked the quinoa. Then I pre-roasted them a bit, and while they cooked, so did the veg. With everything happening simultaneously (don't worry, it was all simple!) it meant that these came together quickly, and once assembled, they were topped with cheese and thrown under the broiler for a little ooey-gooey melty cheesy magic. Et Voila!

Stuffed Portabellas

Mushroom Marinade: 
originally found here

1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried herbs (either parsley, oregano, rosemary, basil, or a combo) - I used italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
6-8 large portobella mushrooms, stems and grills removed removed (preserve these if you want to use them in your filling, I definitely meant to and forgot ... next time!)

3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 Tbsp cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 heads baby bok choy, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped or julienned
2 Tbsp water
1/3 cup grated cheese (optional) - I used aged white cheddar


  1. Mix together all of the marinade ingredient and pour over mushrooms in a shallow baking dish.  I made sure there was some sitting in the cap of each mushroom as well as in the dish. Allow to sit for 30 minutes (or more)
  2. While the mushrooms are marinating, cook the quinoa.  In a saucepan combine the dry quinoa and broth and cook, covered, over medium-low heat until all of the liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 C
  4. Prep the veg.  While the quinoa is cooking, take the time to chop, slice and dice any veg you are planning to use. 
  5. When the mushrooms are finished marinating, pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until tender (after assembly, they will only be getting an extra minute or two under the broiler, so this will be their main cook time). Your quinoa should also be finished by now.
  6. Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute onions until tender, and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  7. Add the remaining vegetables, saute for about 1 minute and then add the water and cover the pan with a large lid.  This will steam the vegetables. Check the vegetables often, when the water has evaporated, add the quinoa, about 1/3 at a time until you reached your desired quinoa/vegetable ratio. Mix well, let cook another minute and then turn the heat off. It is okay if you finish with the vegetable/quinoa mixture before the mushrooms are done cooking, everything will be going back in the oven together and will become and even temperature then.
  8. When the vegetables and mushrooms are both finished cooking, it's time to assemble. Switch the oven to broil, scoop equal parts of the vegetable/quinoa mixutre into each mushroom cap, top with some grated cheese and place in the oven for about 2 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 
  9. Enjoy!

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